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Shalimar Bagh of Kashmir

The Heaven on Earth

Natallia Savitskaya, Author

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"Travels in the Mogul Empire, A.D. 1656-1668." pp. 399-400

"The most beautiful of all these gardens is one belonging to the King, called Chah-limar.^ The entrance from the lake is through a spacious canal, bordered with green turf, and running between two rows of poplars.^ Its length is about five hundred paces, and it leads to a large summerhouse placed in the middle of the garden. A second canal, still finer than the first, then conducts you to another summer-house, at the end of the garden. This canal is paved with large blocks of freestone, and its sloping sides are covered with the same. In the middle is a long row of fountains, fifteen paces asunder; besides which there are here and there large circular basins, or reservoirs, out of which arise other fountains, formed into a variety of shapes and figures.!

The summer-houses are placed in the midst of the canal, consequently surrounded by water, and between the two rows of large poplars planted on either side. 

They are built in the form of a dome, and encircled by a gallery, into which four doors open; two looking up, or down, the canal, and two leading to bridges that connect the buildings with both banks. The houses consist of a large room in the centre, and of four smaller apartments, one at each coi'iier. The whole of the interior is painted and gilt, and on the walls of all the chambers are inscribed certain sentences, written in large and beautiful Persian characters.^ The four doors are extremely valuable ; being composed of large stones, and supported by two beautiful pillars. The doors and pillars were found in some of the idol temples demolished by Chah-Jehan, and it is impossible to estimate their value. I cannot describe the nature of the stone, but it is far superior to porphyry, or any species of marble.-^

You have no doubt discovered before this time that I am charmed with Kachemire. In truth, the kingdom surpasses in beauty all that my warm imagination had anticipated. It is probably unequalled by any country of the same extent, and should be, as in former ages, the seat of sovereign authority, extending its dominion over all the circumjacent mountains, even as far as Tartary and over the whole of Hindoustan, to the island of Ceylon.^ It is not indeed without reason that the Mogols call Kachemire the terrestrial paradise of the Indies, or that Ekbar was so unremitting in his efforts to wrest the sceptre from the hand of its native Princes. His son Jehan-Guyre became so enamoured of this little kingdom as to make it the place of his favourite abode, and he often declared that he would rather be deprived of every other province of his mighty empire than lose Kachemire.'^"

Bernier, Francois. Travels in the Mogul Empire, A.D. 1656-1668. Westminster, Constable, 1891.

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